Canada's competition regulator is urging Ottawa to enact safeguards with respect to large-scale mergers by shifting the burden to the merging companies to prove why their deals are unlikely to substantially reduce market competition.

The recommendation is one of 50 submitted by the Competition Bureau in response to the federal government's consultation on the future of competition policy.

The bureau says Canada’s Competition Act should be amended to allow for “structural presumptions” like those in place in the U.S.

Such a move would replace the current Canadian system that requires the regulator itself to demonstrate a merger is likely to lessen competition.

The bureau argues in its submission that most Canadians view the country's existing competition framework as "outdated, weak, complex, slow and out of touch."

Earlier this year, the Federal Court of Appeal rejected the Competition Bureau’s bid to quash Rogers' $26-billion takeover of Shaw, after the regulator argued the deal would result in higher cellphone bills, poorer service, and fewer options for consumers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2023.